As a former scientist at NASA, it gives me great pleasure to share that Planet has been awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with NASA’s Earth Science Division. This represents the first time NASA has engaged with commercial small-satellite constellation operators to purchase their data for scientific evaluation. The agreement establishes a way for NASA to purchase Planet data for scientific evaluation over the next 12 months, with the option to extend an additional three years.
NASA has committed to expanding the use of small satellites for scientific applications, from Earth imaging to heliophysics. The BPA with Planet and other commercial providers is a key aspect of this program, and sets a precedent for how NASA purchases commercial services and assess their use to complement and even augment government-collected data (ie, Landsat).
“This pilot program is an innovative and efficient way for us to acquire, examine, and evaluate a wide range of private sector Earth observation data,” said Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “As our very capable NASA research satellite fleet ages and more small satellites are launched by private industry, there are opportunities to leverage the strengths of each into even more complete climate data sets.”
Over the coming weeks, Planet will engage with NASA scientists directly to evaluate the use of Planet’s data for assessing the “Essential Climate Variables.” NASA has broad interests in land use and land cover change, forest and ocean science, and polar and cryosphere applications, for which frequent global PlanetScope monitoring, paired with high-resolution SkySat tasking, are particularly valuable.
Through this BPA, NASA will be among the first customers to access Planet data from satellites with the latest upgrades and enhancements. With two successful launches already in the books for 2018 and another two scheduled before year end (including aboard ISRO’s PSLV rocket), Planet continues to advance its hardware and software capabilities to send the latest innovations into space.
Planet is looking forward to partnering with NASA to learn from their long-standing expertise and excellence in delivering global remote sensing for scientific applications. Close collaboration with NASA will enhance the scientific rigor of Planet’s commercial solutions that will have positive downstream effects for our customers, and help us advance our mission of making global change visible, accessible, and actionable.
Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting work!